Blog post by Janaki Srinivasan Kumar
Born in a traditional TamBrahm family I assumed that I know all the rules that a so called TamBrahm is supposed to follow. I was proud that though I never lived in Tamil Nadu, I was still familiar with all the traditions. But I was not aware that in pressing situations, shortcuts can be used; something I discovered post-marriage.
We all know what an important role raahu kaalam plays in our life. Any important assignment, pudu velai, writing exam, appearing for an interview, in fact for starting anything new, you should never start in raahu kaalam. It is considered most inauspicious. So is yama kandam, its little brother, nevertheless, equally, if not more important. But if you have to choose between the two, raahu is the first preference. I was not so much aware of raahu kaalam and its significance before marriage, except once instance where I had to reach my 10th grade board exam centre at 10:25 a.m. while the exam was at 12 noon because it happened to be a Friday…and I had maths exam, so we could not take any chances and act smart! Other than that I knew ‘Mother saw father wearing the turban suddenly’, a line in which the first letter of each word tells you what time raahu kaalam is on each day of the week, starting from 7:30—9 a.m. on Monday (mother), to 9—10:30 a.m. on Saturday (Saw), 10:30—12 noon on Friday (father), 12—1:30 p.m. on Wednesday (wearing), 1:30—3 p.m. on Thursday (the), 3—4:30 p.m. on Tuesday (turban) and finally 4:30—6 p.m. on Sunday (suddenly). I am sure most, if not all TamBrahms are aware of this.
So, on one Sunday, after marriage, we were planning to visit my sister-in-law who also lives in Chennai. Though we decided that we must leave before raahu kaalam, we dozed off after a heavy Sunday meal. When we woke up we realized we have only about 20 minutes to leave before raahu kaalam starts. We either had to drop our plan or go during raahu kaalam and both options were not possible…so what to do now? My husband came up with this brilliant shortcut. He quickly took our slippers and bag and kept it outside the house which (apparently) indicated that we have left. “Apparam, porumaya kalambi poikalam”, he said. “Serupum paiyum anyway poirte”!
If you know of other such shortcuts, do share, let us all benefit from it during critical situations!